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New Toxic Chemical Regulations: Is Your Supply Chain Impacted?

There are new chemical regulations on the block, and your company’s supply chain might be implicated. These rules prohibit both the manufacturing of certain bioaccumulating chemicals as well as the distribution of products that contain these chemicals. Read on for a high-level summary of the rules and what you should expect next.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued five final rules regulating the manufacture and distribution of certain persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (“PBT”) chemicals pursuant to the Toxic Substance Control Act (“TSCA”) in January 2021. These rules became effective on February 5, 2021, and impact chemical and end use product manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, and merchants.

EPA is now revisiting the final rules following supply chain pressure. EPA announced a 60-day public comment period beginning March 8, 2021. EPA is seeking additional public comment on the five final rules. Significantly, EPA is exercising enforcement discretion in the form of a

Texas Ends Mask Mandate and Removes all Occupancy Limits

Texas’ Governor marked the state’s Independence Day on March 2, 2021, by issuing an Executive Order that eliminates the statewide face covering mandate, and allows all businesses in Texas to operate at full capacity beginning on March 10, 2021.  Governor Abbott said that the decisions were based on the vaccine rollout and falling infection rates.

Deaths, new cases, and hospitalizations are down; in fact, hospitalizations in Texas are at the lowest levels since October 2020.  Despite interruptions caused by the severe weather over the last few weeks, 6.8% of Texans have been vaccinated, leading Governor Abbott to join others in asserting that the attempts at controlling this virus are improving.  The news comes only a day after the Director of the CDC warned about the possibility of a fourth wave of the virus, especially in light of the spread of several variants.

Key takeaways for businesses:

PFAS Update: Current State-by-State Groundwater Regulations

February 26, 2021

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Many states have expressed frustration with the lack of federal cleanup standards for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) in groundwater, and have started the process of regulating PFAS in groundwater themselves.  As a result, states have adopted a patchwork of regulations and guidance standards that present significant challenges to impacted industries.  This client alert focuses on the different state regulations regarding the guidance, notification, and cleanup levels for PFAS – typically perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (“PFOS”) and perfluorooctanoic acid (”PFOA”)  – in groundwater.

I. State Regulations

The snapshot provided below is current as of March 1, 2021, but it is important to note that this is a rapidly developing regulatory space.  Some states, such as North CarolinaPennsylvaniaRhode Island, and Wisconsin have proposed groundwater regulations for PFAS which may take effect later this year, and more state actions, as well as possible federal action, are expected to be announced this year.  All

U.S. COVID-19: OSHA Issues Guidance Addressing Mitigation and Prevention of COVID-19 in the Workplace

As part of President Biden’s first executive actions, on January 21, 2021, the president ordered the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) to issue new science-based guidance to protect workers and enhance workplace health and safety during the Covid-19 pandemic. In compliance with this executive order, on January 29, 2021, OSHA issued new guidance to help employers better identify risks of being exposed to and/or contracting COVID-19 and to ascertain appropriate control measures employers can implement to address those risks. The guidance, titled “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace,” (“Guidance”) contains advisory recommendations and reinforces already existing mandatory safety and health standards. This Alert provides an overview of this new federal Guidance and highlights important considerations for employers.

Legal Obligations of Employers in Responding to COVID-19

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, OSHA has referenced and leveraged the Occupational Safety and Health Act

California Prop. 65 Warning Requirement for THC Makes CBD, Hemp and Cannabis Products a Target

The California Proposition 65 warning requirement for THC took effect on January 3, making cannabis, hemp and CBD products a likely target for private enforcement actions.

Although under federal law CBD products are allowed to contain up to 0.3 percent THC, or Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, no safe harbor level of exposure to THC has been established under Prop. 65.  That means private enforcers can argue that any detectable amount can subject a product to the Prop. 65 warning requirement.  Companies can work with consultants to develop a safe use determination for THC, but until it is established and accepted, enforcement actions will be a material risk.  Notably, the Prop. 65 listing applies to Δ9-THC, although the Prop. 65 requirements may still be triggered by residual Δ9-THC present in other THC products, like Δ8-THC distillates.

At the same time that THC was added to the Prop. 65 list, California’s Office of Environmental Health

California and New York Roll Back Certain COVID-19 Restrictions

January 28, 2021

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In late 2020, many states enacted stay-at-home orders or issued new lockdowns in an effort to curb a perceived risk of elevated infection rates during the holiday season.  With the holidays behind us, and as hospitalizations rates begin to decline, and ICU capacity increases, some states have begun the process of rolling back their more stringent holiday restrictions.

The following is a summary of the steps that California and New York are taking to ease their restrictions.

California

The Governor announced on Monday, January 25th, that the Regional Stay at Home Order, which went into effect in early December, was being lifted.  The state now goes back to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy Plan that was in place before the Regional Stay at Home Order went into effect.

With the exception of four counties, the entire state is in the Widespread Tier under the plan, which is the most restrictive.

State-by-State Regulation of PFAS Substances in Drinking Water

January 22, 2021

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Many states have expressed frustration with the lack of an enforceable federal per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) drinking water standard, and have started the process of regulating PFAS in drinking water themselves.  As a result, states have adopted a patchwork of regulations and standards that present significant challenges to impacted industries.  This client alert focuses on the maximum contaminant levels (“MCLs”), as well as guidance and notification levels for PFAS – typically perfluorooctane sufonic acid (“PFOS”) and perflurooctanic acid (”PFOA”)  – in drinking water that have been enacted or proposed by various states.

1. State Regulations

The following chart is current as of January 19, 2021.  Some states, including Rhode Island and Washington, have proposed Drinking Water regulations for PFAS, reinforcing the fact that this is an area of regulation that is developing quickly.  In addition, President Biden’s Environmental Justice Plan includes a commitment to set “enforceable limits for PFAS in the

Multiple States Enact Drinking Water and Groundwater Regulations for PFAS Chemicals

January 5, 2021

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Although much of the world’s focus has been consumed by the global pandemic, six states have issued important regulations for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”), which are expected to have significant impacts on businesses in those states.  Specifically, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont have enacted Maximum Contaminant Levels (“MCLs”) for certain PFAS substances, including perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (“PFOS”) and perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”) in drinking water.

In addition, Michigan and New Jersey have established groundwater quality standards for certain PFAS compounds, which means that there is now a reference standard for groundwater investigation and cleanup actions, as well as guidelines for entities conducting due diligence for real estate acquisitions.

St. Louis County COVID-19 Restrictions

November 16, 2020

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As with many other places across the country, St. Louis County is experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases, and has enacted a new round of restrictions as a result. As of November 13, 2020, there were 38,620 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in St. Louis County, with 900 new cases reported on November 12th alone. St. Louis County’s positivity rate reached a staggering 15.1%, the highest since April of 2020.  Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are on the sharp rise.

In response, the St. Louis County Executive, Dr. Sam Page, announced a series of new restrictions:

  • Restaurants and bars will close indoor service but not outdoor dining, curbside, delivery, and take-out service;
  • All businesses will be reduced to 25 percent of their occupancy limits (currently at 50 percent);
  • Gatherings will be reduced to a maximum of ten people (currently at 49 people);
  • Residents should only leave their homes for specified reasons

PFAS: Regulation of Firefighting Foam

PFAS: Regulation of Firefighting Foam

November 13, 2020

Authored by: Tom Lee and John Kindschuh

26 states have either passed or proposed regulations regarding per- or polyfluoroalkyl (“PFAS”) based Class B Aqueous Film-Forming foams (“AFFF”) used for firefighting.  These regulations typically involve restrictions in four general areas:

  • Discharge or use requirements – These regulations usually limit or prohibit the use of AFFF in training or testing exercises, and only allow the use of AFFF in active firefighting situations;
  • Storage or “take-back” provisions – Some states have enacted state run programs to purchase and dispose of AFFF, usually purchasing from government agencies;
  • Notification or reporting requirements – When continued use of AFFF is allowed, some states have required that businesses report specific details regarding their use; and
  • Limitations on personal protective equipment (“PPE”) – In some cases states have limited or prohibited PPE for firefighters that contains PFAS-materials.
  • While the specific regulations are listed in the chart below, BCLP wants to begin by providing an overview

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